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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Teenage girls-Sexual behavior, Stigma (Social psychology), Teenage girls-Social networks, Birth control-Moral and ethical aspects, Adolescents, Sexuality, Stigma, Social networks


This study looks at the relationship between friend groups that stigmatize sexual activity and sexual health behavior of teen girls. Social interactionist theory on stigma posits that stigma occurs when a trait someone possesses devalues the expected ‘model’ society has for them. In the case of the teen girl qualitative interviews and content analysis has shown that teen girls are often expected to be sexually chaste and uninterested in sex unless it is for love. Sexual activity for the teen girl can therefore be stigmatizing. Utilizing Goffman’s work on stigma and fixed effects modeling this study explores whether being friends with sexually stigmatized individuals was associated with teen girls not wanting to engage in sexual health behaviors because it may inform others that they are sexually active. The analysis found a modest relationship between sexual stigma and birth control attitudes, but not association between stigma and birth control actions.




28 pages. Honors project, Smith College, 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 27-28)